Do you know which is the southernmost country in the world? Welcome to Chile! Indeed home to one-of-a-kind landscapes and unique local culture. Where is it located? Which are its top destinations? What are must-try local food dishes? You are in the right place to learn everything you need to know to plan your next Chile vacation… Keep on reading and travel to Chile like a local!
Updated to November 2023
1. Where is Chilean Patagonia?
In the southernmost part of Chile, you will find the famous Chilean Patagonia! This vast land mainly hosts an impressive rocky landscape filled with snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, and unique local wildlife. It extends from Puerto Montt to the Cabo de Hornos specifically.
To visit this unique region during your Chile vacation, you can travel to Chile’s capital city, Santiago de Chile, and then travel internally until you reach Patagonia: you will know when you get there, and you will have no doubts!
Chilean Patagonia is divided into different zones you can visit from north to south, known as:
This district will leave you breathless with its pristine lakes, and turquoise body water. The main cities you must visit in this area are Puerto Montt, the starting point of the one and only Carretera Austral (Southern Highway), and Puerto Varas, whose main stars are the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes.
It was the last region to be added to the Republic of Chile and is home to majestic fjords, movie-like cliffs, and stunning glaciers. Nothing to envy about Norweigan’s fjords at all! If you are looking forward to driving through the Carretera Austral on your Chile vacation, this region shall be on your path as it hosts the ending point of it: Villa O’Higgins.
Welcome to the southernmost region of Chilean Patagonia. Punta Arenas is the most important city in this area and is located at the Magellanic Stretch where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans merge. Puerto Natales is another must-visit city as is the main gate to access the famous Torres del Paine National Park.
You can find several National Parks worth visiting in Chilean Patagonia.
Learn more insights about Chilean Patagonia here
2. What is Chile known for?
Because of its Mars-like landscapes? Or maybe because of hosting the tallest building in South America? Well, either way, yes! Chile is known for its spectacular natural landscapes, its earthquake-proof skyscrapers, and much more!
Literature lovers, this country might be your call: Meet some of the landscapes that inspired authors like Shakespeare in “Tempestad” or Melville in “Moby Dick” on your Chile vacation.
But one thing is for sure: Chile’s local gastronomy is undoubtedly one-of-a-kind. The trip will be worth it once you try a glass of Chilean wine or some Chorrillanas and empanadas de Pino. Expect nothing but the most delicious meals!
Keep reading about Chile’s local facts
Learn more about how to plan your next adventure in Chile here
3. Travel to Chile: Top Destinations
Santiago de Chile
Chile’s capital city, and home of the tallest building in South America, The Gran Torre Santiago, is 984 feet tall and encompasses 64 floors.
This city combines large natural areas, imposing views of the Andes mountain range, and Ski centers with the utmost technological skyscrapers and shopping malls. Santiago merges past and future: You can travel through its historical center and learn all about its history and afterward spend hours visiting designer shops or having dinner in posh restaurants.
Keep reading about Santiago’s top historical places.
Watch the best sunsets on the Pacific coast of Chile. Valparaiso’s port was named World Heritage by UNESCO because of its importance for international trade before Panama’s Channel was opened.
Picturesque, colorful houses that seem like they are hanging off the cliff will continue to impress you during your Chile vacation in Valparaíso. Learn all about this coastal city’s history, and please try local seafood dishes, you won’t regret it!
Discover more about coastal cities in Chile
Have you ever dreamed of watching a starlit sky surrounded by the vast infinite desert? Travel to Chile and discover the Atacama desert.
Designated as one of the best spots on the whole Earth to make astronomical observations, Atacama hosts unique wildlife species, salt flats, geyser fields, and lagoons you can swim in. Sounds like an adventure, huh?
When we say “unique wildlife”, we mean it. Flamingoes, guanacos, and Humboldt penguins check the boxes of the fascinating animals that live in one of the driest deserts on Earth.
Keep reading about local wildlife in the Atacama Desert
Travel to Chile and discover Chilean Patagonia
Last but not least, on your Chile vacation meet famous worldwide Patagonia! The main star is Torres del Paine National Park, but impressive landscapes are countless: visit the Lake Region and its main villages like Puerto Montt, or Puerto Varas. Let’s see its main attractions:
Puerto Montt & Puerto Varas
Ready to discover the one-of-a-kind south region of Chile? Puerto Montt turns out to be the starting point of the Carretera Austral that ends in Villa O’Higgins, in the Aysén Region. So besides enjoying its traditional seafood local cuisine and visiting its neoclassical cathedral: Hit the road towards this wonderland for adventurers!
Puerto Varas is also a coastal city with unique German-like architecture. But indeed, the views over a pristine Lake Llanquihue of the two inactive volcanoes that inhabit this city will for sure leave you breathless. In this emblematic city, you will find hiking trails to Osorno volcano, and spectacular views of this nature’s work of art area, and you may enjoy the unique local cuisine: Heads up? Don’t forget to try salmon dishes in this area!
Travel in time: surrounded by small colorful wooden churches, you have arrived at the wonderful island of Chiloé. Did you know 16 of them were declared World Heritage by UNESCO?
Besides wooden churches, and being surrounded by turquoise waters, discover the unique “palafitos”, houses built over the water, indeed a Chiloe’s trademark.
Watch out for penguins! This island hosts one of the unique places in the world where Magellanic and Humboldt penguins breed!
The nearest city to the southernmost point of Chile. Also, the main gate for Antartida’s expedition. This city is the largest to find at this point on the map, and still getting isn’t as complicated as it seems, you can book a flight from Santiago de Chile, and welcome to Punta Arenas!
Best part? Penguins are everywhere! Take a ferry to Isla Magdalena and visit over 10,000 penguins that breed on this island. But there is so much more to discover in this city located at the mythic Magellanic Stretch.
Try locally crafted beer and stroll down its streets, visit museums, and learn all about this one-of-a-kind city!
Puerto Natales & Torres del Paine
On your way to Punta Arenas, or to Torres del Paine National Park, Puerto Natales is a must-visit stop. It is the main to visit this renowned National Park, declared a Natural Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
Visit Cuevas del Milodon, which is more than 11,000 years old, or Southern Patagonian Ice Field, with South America’s largest glacier, the Pio XI or Ana María Glacier.
As we stated, this city is the jumping-off point for your Torres del Paine National Park adventure: To discover this park, the “W” circuit is the most famous one as you get to see the main highlights of it, such as the Paine Horns or Paine Towers.
Hiking lovers get ready, this is your call!
Sail through the Chilean Fjords on magic navigation that will lead you to discover this unique land. This area is home to the Kawésqar National Park and the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park which hosts the third-largest contiguous icefield in the world after Greenland and Antarctica.
Rainforests, imposing icy landscapes, and breathtaking scenery are guaranteed in the Chilean Fjords.
If looking forward to truly experiencing the southernmost country in the World: Hit the road and discover the Carretera Austral, a 770.5-kilometer road surrounded by fjords, dazzling views of the Pacific Ocean, and stunning glaciers. From Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins discover the majestic Chilean Patagonia!
6 Hidden Treasures in the “Patagonia Chilena”
Chilean Patagonia seems endless for adventure travel. There is always a new place to discover around the corner. Save yourself some time and read about 6 hidden treasures you need to see before ending your Chile vacation.
4. Chilean Patagonia Tours
Located in the southern region of Chile, there is nowhere else to be found a landscape alike. The journey might seem long but once you arrive everything will feel worth it.
From impressive snow-capped mountains, dazzling views, and pristine lakes, Chilean Patagonia is a must-visit destination if you travel to Chile. Torres del Paine National Park, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, and even the world-famous Beagle Channel, can be found in this wonderland for adventurers: The best rewards are for the most intrepid ones!
Get to know our incredible tours to Chilean Patagonia!
Torres del Paine National Park hosts the stunning Paine horns, which you can meet if you are willing to adventure yourself on the “W” circuit where you will spot the main highlights of the National Park.
So, who is ready for an adventure?
Torres del Paine – Puerto Natales
Explore the most amazing destinations of Chilean Patagonia and its wonder: Torres del Panie. Also, travel to Argentina to marvel at the stunning Mount Fitz Roy.
Experience the best of Chile and Argentina. Admire the famous Perito Moreno Glacier and enjoy the incredible views of the Andes Mountains.
Patagonia – Atacama – Santiago de Chile
Discover the magnificent destinations Chile has! Travel through different landscapes, meet unique wildlife, and enjoy everlasting experiences in this wonderful country!
5. Local Food
Best way to connect with a destination? Try its local cuisine! Chile offers a great variety of restaurants from budget-friendly, to 5-star ones. Be open to trying new flavors, you won’t regret it!
When traveling to Chile, these are 5 local dishes and beverages you need to try in this country:
Pisco Sour is a typical alcoholic drink known in Chile and Peru. It is a grape brandy very famous in this country, usually used to make Pisco Sour where they mix it with lemon, sugar, and egg white. You will find the best Pisco in Elqui Valley, in the Coquimbo region.
The long coastline of Chile offers nothing but the best seafood you can find, specifically in Viña del Mar. Centolla or Spider Crabs, in the south region, is the most popular dish. For sure is a must-try if you travel to Chile!
Chorrillana & Pichanga
Mingle with locals and try these traditional dishes, like to be at every social gathering. Chorrillana is a plate made of french fries topped with beef, onions, and fried eggs. Pichanga, on the other hand, consists of olives, onions, avocado, chunks of meat, and other pickled foods. Santiago de Chile is one of the best destinations where you can enjoy both dishes.
Indeed the most delicious hot dog you will ever taste. It looks like a regular hot dog but the secret is on top: delicious toppings like smashed avocado, tomatoes, and local sauces. If you visit Santiago de Chile, don´t wait any longer and enjoy a tasty Completo!
Keep reading about planning a trip to Chile and must-try food
6. Travel to Chile and discover Ecotourism
Let’s travel meaningfully. Ecotourism looks for a trace-free, local-friendly journey where you will enjoy your trip without interfering with the local environment or local community.
So, if this is what you are looking for, Chile might be the perfect place to travel to. Let’s see some destinations for Ecotourism in Chile:
Torres del Paine National Park
For sure one of many of Chile’s national trademarks, and a paradise for hikers. Endless hiking trails are available although the most popular is the “W” circuit to discover the main highlights of the park. Eco-sustainable accommodations like refuges or campsites are recommended to truly experience this wonderland Chile gets to call theirs.
La Campana National Park
Discover local wildlife just like Darwin did! Yes, this National Park was discovered by Charles Darwin and hosts one of the last Palm Trees Forests in the whole country, so sustainable measures are important to be followed. Expect nothing but 24/7 astonishment.
Vicente Perez Rosales National Park
Who said Ecotourism does not contain a little bit of adrenaline? Water sport lovers, this National Park is your call! Rapids await you. Discover lava-shape hiking trails and meet the impressive Monte Tronador volcano accompanied by a local guide!
Villarrica National Park
This National Park is full of large volcanoes and mountains, perfect for adventurers! There you will find a ski center and also a camping area next to the volcanoes. Be ready to spot several animals and enjoy the incredible landscapes this park has to offer.
Siete Tazas National Park
Located near Santiago de Chile, Siete Tazas National Park has amazing viewpoints and majestic trails with different levels of difficulty for all visitors. You will marvel at magnificent landscapes such as waterfalls, rivers, and natural pools! Stand by an adventure of a lifetime.
Chiloé National Park
Chiloé National Park is the hidden gem of the Lake District. Be able to observe the Valdivian rainforest and dune areas, and last but not least, spot unique wildlife you will never forget!
Keep reading about Ecotourism in Chile here
7. To sum up
Are you ready for your Chile vacation? Travel to Chile and discover the southernmost country in the whole world!